NBA Playoffs, Lakers Suns Game 2: Stoudemire will learn rebounding not about luck

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Thumbnail image for Odom_half.jpgThe good Lamar Odom showed up and was a dominating force in game one. He keyed the Lakers first half run from which they never looked back. He finished with 19 points and more key (especially in the second half) 19 rebounds.

“I’m not giving him no hype,” Stoudemire told reporters before the Suns practiced at Staples Center. “He had a lucky game.”

That quote (we’ll lead you to Ken Berger at CBS to read the context) comes from Amare Stoudemire, the man who did nothing to stop Odom in game one. Odom, sounding like a professional, refused to play along later and just said he hoped to be lucky again.

But that quote says something about Amare.

It says he was frustrated, which he should be, and maybe this is how Stoudemire fires himself up. (There also are some things going on in his personal life that may lead him to spout off more than normal.)

But if he thinks rebounding is about luck, it sheds light on his passions. It also sheds light on why he had just three rebounds in the game.

Rebounding is about 10 percent luck and 90 percent desire. It’s want. More than anything else on the basketball court, rebounds are where “want” manifests itself. Charles Barkley was maybe 6’5″, but he was a force on the glass because he wanted the ball more than anyone else. The best rebounder of his generation — one of the best of all time — was Dennis Rodman and he was 6’7″, yet for six straight years in the mid ’90s he pulled down more than 25 percent of the available rebounds while he was on the floor. His last year with the Spurs that was almost 30 percent. He wanted that ball more than you and he went and got it.

In Game 1, Odom wanted it. Now for Game 2 indifferent Odom or maybe even bad Odom will show up to play — there is no more inconsistent talented player in the NBA. But what he did in Game 1 had nothing to do with luck. It was desire. And Stoudemire needs to show more of that and grab more than three rebounds if the Suns are going to take one in LA.

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.